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Your will and the reality of procrastination

Life can be unexpected.
Image: Shutterstock

More than 75% of South Africans pass away without a valid will in place, causing devastating consequences for their families and dependants. To help combat this statistic we’ve spent the last eight years on a mission to educate our nation on the importance of wills and have put numerous measures in place to make it easy and accessible to have your will drafted.

Your Children’s inheritance could pass to the Government Guardian’s Fund.

What are some of the consequences of passing away without a valid and up-to-date will?

  1. You forfeit the opportunity to decide who inherits what and your Estate is distributed according to South African intestate succession law.
  2. Your Partner may be left with nothing if you are not married or your will is not updated after your previous marriage ended.
  3. Your children’s inheritance could pass to the Government Guardian’s Fund or the appointed Guardian, rather than to a Trust that will ensure your wishes for your children are carried out.
  4. Family feuds often occur when family members argue over the distribution of your Estate if your final wishes are not clearly documented in a will.
  5. Winding up your estate can take years – without a will appointing a professional Executor, the Government is essentially in control of the process.

Only 1 in 4 South Africans pass away with a valid will in place

When you consider the impact on your family, your Estate and your legacy when you pass away without a will in place, you’d think this would be a top priority – and yet we still see only 1 in 4 South Africans passing away with a valid will in place.

In a recent survey we asked people why they haven’t gotten their wills in order. The results were astounding.

  • 43% of respondents said: “I just haven’t got around to it.”
  • 27% said: “I’m not sure where to get my will done.”
  • 21% said: “I think it might be expensive to get a will.”
  • Only 9% of respondents said they think they don’t need a will.

…43% of respondents said: ‘I just haven’t got around to it’

Thanks to decades of marketing from the financial services industry, the average South African consumer is well versed in funeral plans, life insurance, household insurance, medical aid and car insurance. Even pet insurance is seen as a priority at the moment. But ask a consumer if they have their will in place and the standard answer is: “No, I just haven’t got around to it yet.”

The problem is that life can be unexpected, and far too often we deal with families with good financial plans in place but no will to hold it together after one of the parents has passed away.

Imagine your child’s inheritance passing to the Government Guardian’s Fund rather than to a Trust that can be managed for their benefit. Imagine handing over your right to decide who inherits what from your Estate to the Government. Imagine your family fighting over what they thought you wanted to have happen when you pass away one day, simply because it was never documented. Imagine your family having to spend the next 2 to 5 years dealing with Government-appointed executors and state departments as they struggle to wind up your Estate. Without a valid will in place, we see this happening all the time.

Five ways we make it easy for you to get your will drafted

  1. We have more than 100 consultants around the country who can meet you at a time and place convenient for you. At home. At the office. At a coffee shop. During the week or over the weekend.
  2. No charge for drafting your will. That’s correct. We don’t charge you for the consultation or the drafting of your will.
  3. No charge for collecting your signed will. Our courier service makes sure that your signed will is safely collected and delivered to us – and we pick up the tab!
  4. No charge for keeping your will in safe custody. We will keep your will in a secure vault, ensure it is barcoded and easily retrievable – at no cost to you.
  5. No charge for making amendments to your will. We encourage our clients to review their wills every few years and especially after major life events. We don’t charge you anything to make these changes ensuring your will remains up to date.

After nearly a decade of dealing with hundreds of deceased Estates, grieving families, and the crushing financial burden of an Estate in limbo, there’s one message we’d like to drive home – “Don’t procrastinate. Get your will sorted today!”

Brandon Garbutt is the Managing Director of Capital Legacy.

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Procrastination is hereditary – it carries over to the next generation!

@ Brandon Garbutt – please confirm the small print. Will Capital Legacy still do all of this for the consumer – at no charge – if we appoint someone else as the executor?

I’m sure you won’t get any response. ABSA offers the same at a minimum fee of R80000 if they are the executor of the estate and IF the estate is above R1m . Otherwise they are not interested.

Brandon should tell us about procrastination at the master of the court. Absolute nightmare.

@Bibap There have certainly been some delays at the Masters office, due to the government’s restrictions around Covid, but we work very closely with them and are proud to say that we are still able to wind up estates within 9-12 months. This is generally quicker than the current industry norm.

@TalkToJohn Yes that’s correct. We help thousands of clients every month get their Wills in order – a few appoint other executors or even co-executors along with us.

One cannot expect Capital Legacy to not charge for dealing with the contents of the will

But I doubt they will object to negotiate a decent %

I found a tax consultant to some heavy investors who finally offers 0.6%

Always update your will….your preferences are never static and be sure to nullify the existing executor if you change at the date you decide too

@Leah Buchanan We also encourage our clients to review their Wills regularly to ensure they are up to date. We don’t charge clients for this either. Also, all our clients get 25% discount on executor fees as standard, with the ability to indemnify 100% of their fees should they so wish.

In other words they take out an insurance policy with you now to cover the fees on death? No free lunch here.

End of comments.

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